In what was supposed to be a strength of the Washington Redskins, their defense just took a major hit on Monday when it was announced that two-time Pro-Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker are out for the season.
Coach Mike Shanahan said that Orakpo suffered another tear of the pectoral muscle near his left shoulder in Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Orakpo had surgery on that same shoulder after suffering a similar injury in the final game of last season.
Carriker, on the other hand, tore the quad tendon at the base of his right knee in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and at minimum he will be out of action for four to six months after surgery – and that does not include his actual rehabilitation time needed to get back into playing shape.
The Redskins now have to replace two defensive starters on a team that has allowed 63 points in its first two games – and the defense was supposed to be our strength.
As far as the players likely to replace Carriker and Orakpo are concerned, let’s just say one replacement doesn’t concern me as much as the other. Carriker’s likely replacement at the left-defensive end position is Jarvis Jenkins.
Now Jenkins, if you remember, missed all of last season because of a torn ACL after being taken in the second round of the 2011 draft. This is essentially his rookie season but he did look good during the pre-season and I am less concerned about how he will do replacing Carriker because he has the size, the skills, and the desire to succeed so I’m counting on him being able to fulfill all of that.
Orakpo’s replacement on the other hand – who knows, because I wouldn’t say anyone has really stepped up and proven that they can even handle being Orakpo’s backup. Rob Jackson is technically listed as the backup at right outside linebacker, but Chris Wilson – the backup at left outside linebacker – will likely share duties at right outside linebacker with him until Shanahan can figure out the best road moving forward with this.
Needless to say, Wilson has just 48 total tackles over 66 career games and Jackson 14 tackles over the 28 games he has played in his career.
This is an injury that really hurts the Redskins, and I’m not inferring that the loss of Carriker is an easy one, because they don’t have a high quality backup at the position the way they do behind Carriker. All of a sudden a tandem, such as the one Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan were supposed to make, at the outside linebacker spots were supposed to be a force to be reckoned with this season and now the team is down a man in that regard.